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Downsizing: It is not just for Retirees


There’s a lot to like about a more minimalist lifestyle. For some, the pursuit is liberating, for others it’s terrifying. If the thought of ditching your belongings and moving into a smaller space makes your heart sink and your palms drip, don’t think of it as “downsizing,” suggests the National Association of Senior Move Managers. Instead, consider it “right-sizing.”

Whether you’re downsizing to save your creaking knees from the rigors of climbing the stairs in your multi-story McMansion, to save money or to achieve a simpler lifestyle, read on for tips to get you started.


The first step in the downsizing project involves making decisions about what to take with you to the new home and what you’ll part with.

Before you decide to move something, consider how much space you’ll have – or not have. For instance, if your aim is to have a living room that is roughly half the size of your current one, you’ll need to get rid of half your furniture.

Living inside of the Box

Storage space may be at a premium in the new, smaller digs—something that won’t be too much of a concern if you judiciously downsized your belongings.

If you feel a bit like you’re living in a box, and you need more space, consider going vertical. Install shelves above the rod in the closets and over the washer and dryer and raise the bed to create space underneath.

Make it Easy on Yourself

Downsizing isn’t a marathon event. Start slow by tackling one room, or even one part of a room, at a time. Different variations of this idea include starting with your book collection, paperwork or a room that doesn’t hold items of sentimental value, such as the kitchen.

Encourage your family members to take inventory of their personal belongings, and avoid making judgments about which of their items should be kept or tossed. Remember, people usually don’t save things that aren’t important to them.

Downsizing doesn't have to be an exercise in crazy-making. Start the purging process early, take your time and concentrate on the end result. Whether that’s a shorter commute, no stairs to climb or a bigger bank account, use it as motivation to remain positive and optimistic.

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